Friday, July 29, 2011

Not Myself – Things I’ve Done This Week

For some reason after I discovered that a store in Brentwood, TN carries the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, it was all I could think about. Even though I have more on my to-do list than I can handle, I used my lunch hour to go to Brentwood and buy some paint this week. Based on what I’ve heard, practically no prep is needed when using this paint so I thought this would be good to use on my dining room table. Even though I bought a gallon of Sherwin William’s Creamy White paint specifically for the table, I used it on other things then let the rest of it set out in the heat on my porch and dry up.

Probably the biggest impulsive and out-of-character thing I’ve done this week was make a large purchase. It was so impulsive I had placed the order before I barely realized what happened. Oh, the dangers of the Internet and an account with Pay pal. The purchasing process is lightening fast I tell you. Lightening fast. If you read Miss Mustard Seed's blog this week, you probably know what I’ve done. I’ll share a picture when it arrives. And when I figure out what to do with it. I won’t even mention what happened with Etsy. In case my family is reading this, I’m using what’s left of my proceeds from last month’s flea market sales to cover my purchases.

I can only think of 2 reasons why my behavior has been so out of character lately.

1.  My first born is going away to college and moving into a dorm in 2 weeks.
2.  My first born is going away to college and moving into a dorm in 2 weeks.
And - My baby starts his senior year of high school next week. Empty nest syndrome is setting in and I’m in a tailspin.

Check back in a few days because a company contacted me about sponsoring an awesome giveaway. It’s something I’ve tried to win before on another blog.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

All Dropcloths Are Not Created Equal

Lately I’ve noticed a big difference in the fabric being used to make the fabric dropcloths that everyone loves. These are usually made of cotton and have finished hems. The larger ones will be seamed together at some point. I’ve found that by sticking to the 6 x 9 or smaller size I usually get one nice piece with no seams. These are sometimes referred to as “poor man’s linen”. I love them because they resemble an old vintage grain sack in texture. I always bring mine home, wash them, and toss in the dryer. This softens them up and then they have a nice, comfy feel. I use these to make pillows, slip covers and table runners.

Below I’ve listed some pictures and descriptions of my recent experiences purchasing drop cloths.

This was the only fabric dropcloth available at my local Home Depot this week. It is approximately 6 x 9 ft (the package states 6 x 9 and then states “actual dimensions 5 ft 9 in x 8 ft 9 in”). Since I’m using these for curtains, I haven’t laundered them. The color is a bit darker than the ones I’ve used for pillows. This is more of a flax color and you can see a very slight hint of other colors in the weave. It is also a blend of cotton, polyester and "other fibers". The weight of this fabric doesn’t seem to be quite as heavy/thick as the ones I normally use. Without washing these, it’s hard to compare exactly. I may be wrong, but I don’t think these are the same dropcloths Home Depot carried last time I looked. These were $10 each. There were other size available.

This is my most recently purchased dropcloth from Wal-Mart. I’ve purchased dropcloths from Wal-Mart before and was pleased with the texture and color. That is until I purchased this one. I knew as soon as I spotted it that something was different. Since it was shrink wrapped it was hard to know for sure, and the fabric content wasn’t listed on the packaging. For starters, this one had very fine orange lines running through it. Since I was purchasing this dropcloth to use for a tablecloth, and I needed it immediately, I went ahead and bought it just to save the trouble of going to Home Depot or Lowes. Oh yeah, and the walls in my kitchen and dining room are about this same color of orange. But that’s another story for another day. I laundered it as soon as I got home. This dropcloth obviously has some poly in it. It has a sheen to it and is not like the linen, feed sack texture of all the other dropcloths I’ve used. It most likely will retain its function as a tablecloth. By the way, if you have a long rectangle table, fabric dropcloths make wonderful tablecloths. I’ve used others, sans orange stripes, for all occasions. I love the versatility of them. At around $10, they’re less expensive than the regular fabric tablecloths I see in stores.

This is a Paint Essentials brand dropcloth I ordered through Amazon. These are a lighter color than most of the others I’ve found in stores. These are also made from a cotton duck canvas fabric. I usually order them in multiples or combined with something else in order to get free shipping. If you do the Swagbucks thing, these can be your best deal with less or no money out of pocket. Don’t let the less than perfect review on Amazon concern you. Turns out the people that bought and reviewed these were actually using them for dropcloths when painting! Go figure. Seems the paint will actually go through these and get on your floor or whatever you are covering and that made some people unhappy. As a note, if I am stenciling a design on these, or doing a citrasolv transfer, I do place a piece of cardboard or cereal box underneath it just in case the paint or ink bleeds through.

Last, but not least, is the dropcloth from Lowe’s. I don’t have one of these on hand at the moment, but I’ve used them before and was pleased with the texture and color. I got this picture from their website and the description states they are a “Super heavyweight tight cotton weave”. 
I’ve found that size for size, the prices on these are comparable. It’s the quality of the fabric that differs. Based on my last purchases from each of these stores, I most likely will not buy from Wal-Mart or Home Depot again. I like the whiter, tighter weave of the dropcloths from Amazon. It really just depends on what qualities you are looking for in a drop cloth. Oh, and by the way, we use plastic drop cloths when painting our furniture. We wouldn’t want any paint leaking through to the floor!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Worth The Trip

Pam and I have been doing some traveling the past 2 weekends. We went to Sparta to check out an estate sale. We met up at 6:30 a.m. and followed each other through what seemed like the middle of nowhere on rural highways. It’s a good thing we took both our cars, because we packed them full. I’m still pining over the vintage buffet we had to pass up because we didn’t have room to bring it back. It was hugely awesome. The huge part was the problem. I don’t think it would have fit in the back of my Pacifica even if we didn’t buy the other things.

This past weekend we traveled to the tiny little town of Haleyville, Alabama. The reason for our trip was to retrieve my 17 year old son after turning he and our dad loose on the gulf coast the past week. However, our main agenda was to seek out some treasures for the October market. We were a bit too late for the local yard sales, so our Dad took us to this little place he knew about. Way to go Dad. This place had lots of great pieces. Unfortunately the beautiful French china cabinet had a “sold” sign on it. We bought a French Provincial chest of drawers and desk, and a beautiful antique dresser with mirror attached. Look for some of these pieces to be wearing a coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint accessorized with glass knobs at our October sale.

Haleyville is in Northwest Alabama and is where both our parents grew up. Pam and I lived there a few years as small children, but spent many summers there with our grandparents until they passed away. Our dad returned there several years ago. This is our Dad (on the right) and one of his best friends from high school, who also served as the Mayor for many years. It was a quick 24 hour trip, but enough to make us feel a little homesick for our childhoods. The good part is we will be going back later next month, pulling a trailer because we couldn’t bring our purchases home with us.


We are tentatively planning a trip to Missouri in early October to see an Aunt and cousin. If we can work out the details, we want to rent a van and do some treasure hunting along the way.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Vintage Jars and Wire Baskets

I found these baskets at Goodwill the other day.  At first I was put off by the wood handles.

I thought about painting them, but then decided I would be happier if they weren't on there at all.  So, I took a hammer and gave them a few good smacks.  They cracked and came right off.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Marketing Our Vintage Goods

I may have mentioned before, we started this little adventure on a whim, after I had been admiring some pieces of furniture in Pam’s house one weekend. A few days later my thought process evolved from posting pictures of her furniture on my blog, to starting our own business with a blog, all over the course of about 15 minutes and several emails between us. Last year over the July 4th weekend we bought our first vintage chair with the intentions of giving it a makeover and offering it for sale. After having such a great experience as a vendor at the Nashville Flea Market last fall, we set out to rent a booth in an antique/gift store. We settled in a cute little store with a wonderful and kind owner. We then expanded and put some smaller items in a new local gallery (with an equally kind and wonderful owner). One thing became quite obvious to us. Different things sell in different places. What goes unsold for months in one place will fly off the shelf in another. Large furniture was our best selling item in our booth. Small items sell best at the Gallery, and a combination of both sell best at the Flea Market.

After marketing our products in 3 different locations, we realized we couldn’t do it all. Since this is our “hobby”, we knew we couldn’t keep a booth furnished and prepare for future Flea Markets. Over the July 4th weekend, we moved out of our booth at the Willow’s Nest. The owner also runs her store in addition to a full time job, so she certainly understands the choices we all must make. It’s interesting how many people we have met over the last year that share a love and passion for creating, so much so that they balance it with regular full time jobs.

We have met many people that sell at annual shows and/or maintain booths in popular hot spots for antiques and home furnishings boutiques. Most of these people pay upwards of $300 - $350 in monthly rent. Every month. That takes quite a bit of merchandise just to break even. We only have so much time and money, so we have only committed to retail spaces that can accommodate our limitations. The good part about this is that it has allowed us to test different venues and determine the best way to market our things locally. The biggest time consuming aspect of this venture for us is acquiring the pieces of furniture. We spend a lot of Saturdays driving around to yard sales, estate sales and checking out Craigslist. With that in mind, we are planning to be back at the Nashville Flea Market in October. This time we plan to have 2 booth spaces and also set up by Friday morning for a full 3 day sale. Several customers have asked us if we will be in the same spot. Since we aren’t regular vendors at the Flea Market, unfortunately we can’t reserve our space prior to the month of the sale. We liked our most recent spot under Shed #4, but will post the exact location a few weeks prior to the market.

Pam is in Bowling Green, KY this week on business. If you know of any places in the area she may find some treasures for our next sale, please let us know!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Vintage Pitcher

After focusing on the flea market the past few weeks, this morning I was excited to get up and hit a few yard sales.  This aluminum pitcher was my favorite find of the day.  Lucky for me, my husband decided to bring home roses last night.  I took the opportunity to play with my new camera.  Maybe one day I will be brave enough to take it off of its automatic setting.